Expected Outcome Without Muscle Tighting

How different is the final look if I decide to forego the muscle tightening with a full tummy tuck? My biggest concern is loose skin and post pregnancy stretchmarks. I'm 47, 5'7" and weigh 154 lbs.

Doctor Answers 15

Tummy Tuck without Muscle Tightening

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Based on your photo, I would recommend a full tummy tuck with muscle tightening.   If you are going to undergo this  procedure and take time off to recover, you deserve the best result to meet your goals.  It seems that you have obvious muscle laxity above and below your abdomen in this picture that will benefit from tightening.   Muscle Plication is a critical component in obtaining a flat abdomen and hour glass figure.   From a side view, I believe there will a large difference in your final result.  I wish you a safe and happy result. 


Paul S. Gill, M.D.

Gill Plastic Surgery

Houston Double Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Don't buy a car without the engine...

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I concur with my colleagues.  You are not getting the maximal benefits of a tummy tuck if you opt against the muscle tightening. Sure, you will get some degree of benefit from just removing the excess skin and fat.  However, the muscle tightening is the internal power of your tummy tuck procedure - it helps to really flattening out the bulging of your abdomen.  So if you are going to accept the waist line scar, my suggestion would be to opt for a full tummy tuck and include the muscle tightening as well. Best of luck.

What is the reason for wanting to skip the muscle tightening?

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Dear Sinderella414,

One important point to realize is that for many patients, the muscle tightening is a critical component to making the abdomen flat, and even patients without significant laxity can benefit greatly from it.  The plication itself only takes a few minutes, and is a routine portion of standard abdominoplasty. Yes, you will have increased discomfort, and a slightly longer recovery period, but the benefits significantly outweigh these concerns. So an important question is why you are contemplating foregoing the plication?

To answer your specific question, the degree of difference is impossible to tell without an in-person evaluation. It largely depends on how much muscle laxity (looseness) you have before surgery. A rough estimate of the improvement through plication is to inhale deeply and observe how much the tummy 'moves in'. Note that this 'test' has limitations; some patients who have extremely lax abdominal muscles do not see much improvement but they may be great candidates for plication.

Bottom line: in many patients, plication will give significant improvement with few drawbacks; not doing the plication may or may not affect your specific case significantly, a consultation should be able to provide you with the answer. Good luck.

Best regards,

Lawrence Tong MD FACS FRCSC 

Lawrence Tong, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon

Tummy tuck should always include muscle tightening!

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I am sure you have some degree of rectus diastasis or "muscle laxity" that needs to be "fixed" as part of your tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty.  It is not really the muscle that is tightened per se, but rather the fascia or "covering of the muscle" that is tightened.  This does not interfere with abdominal muscle function, in fact, most of the time, rectus muscle function is more efficient and improved.  The loose skin can be removed but the result - most notably in clothing will be markedly worsened without the muscle tightening.  From the side, you wont have the "straight line" appearance, and will still have a gentle outward curve that almost all women have to some degree after pregnancy. I hope this helps!


James F. Boynton, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Tummy tuck

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To achieve the most optimal outcome, a tummy tuck and (of course muscle tightening) is the procedure of choice for you, based on your photo.

Shahin Javaheri, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Skin will not reduce like shrink wrap.

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Unfortunately, there are no magic ways to make skin shrink, If we had these we could eliminate face lifts, thigh lifts, breasts lifts, etc. We would love to have a tool for this but it doesn't exist. Lasers, etc may provide slight improvement, but you need more than that. A tummy tuck, possibly without the muscle repair can be done (skin only tummy tuck) but my guess is that you would not be pleased with the result.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Tummy Tuck Outcome Without Muscle Tighting

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Regarding: "Expected Outcome Without Muscle Tighting
How different is the final look if I decide to forego the muscle tightening with a full tummy tuck? My biggest concern is loose skin and post pregnancy stretchmarks. I'm 47, 5'7" and weigh 154 lbs

A Full Tummy Tuck without muscle tightening is a fumbling of the football in the end-zone, a willful missing out on a great opportunity.

NOTHING determines the flatness of a operated "Mommy Tummy" as does muscle tightening. It is the foundation of of the operation and to not do it would mean settling for a below average result when a great Tummy result was there for the taking.

Dr. Peter Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Don't skip the muscle tightening in a tummy tuck

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Tightening the muscles is very important if you really want the tightest, flattest tummy that you can have.  It is important not to skip it if your muscles are lax (which they will be after having kids).

Tummy tuck without muscle tightening

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Thanks for the question.

Its difficult to be precise without examining you in person. Depending on the amount of diastasis or "muscle laxity" you have, your result still could be good although I think you're cutting yourself short by not having the musculature approximated. If your only goal is to remove excess skin and stretch marks and you are well informed of how the outcome would look as compared to a traditional tummy tuck with plication then I think you're fine. My recommendation is to consult with a plastic surgeon in your region and discuss these issues in length with her/him. 

Best of luck,

Glenn Vallecillos, MD, FACS

Glenn Vallecillos, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Muscle tightening

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Tough to tell from your photos, but it is very helpful nonetheless.  There are appreciable stretch marks so skin removal should be extremely helpful.  The muscles being pulled together will help your pot belly, unless there isn't much of one.  If not, then you could possibly get away with it.  Consult your board certified plastic surgeon.

Ricardo A. Meade, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 125 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.